The Synthesis Paper assignment this week is the biggest single writing assignment you have for this course. Everything we have studied so far in the course is part of this assignment; you are synthesizing all that you have learned throughout the course. Begin this assignment early in the week! It will take a considerable amount of time for you to review the entire course so far, reflect on what you have learned (do spend a lot of time thinking!) and write about it in a meaningful and properly formatted way. When you read the detailed assignment instructions, you will see that you are to write about what YOU learned; write about the content of THIS course. Proper APA style is a big part of this assignment, so be sure to carefully consult your APA Publication Manual. To begin, I recommend that you make a level one heading based on the the topic of the first question, and then go about answering that. You’ll most likely need to include other levels of headings, beneath each level one heading, to introduce the things you’re writing about. Then, use another level one heading based on the second question, and continue from there.
You can include the assigned biblical perspective critique as a separate section (start with another level one heading if you do this) or you can incorporate it throughout your document (with appropriate subheadings). It’s your choice. If you include it throughout your document be sure to introduce it with appropriate headings. When you list the Bible as a source in your assignment, you do need to cite the source properly in the body of what you write, and you do need to list the Bible as a reference with your references as well. This was something from earlier in the course. If you have forgotten how to do this, check “classical works” in the index of the manual to see where to find how to do this.
As for the content of what you learned, whatever you learned in this course is the content to write about. Repeat: Write about what YOU learned; write about the content of THIS course. In addition to the content, as mentioned above and in the instructions for this assignment, I will look for APA formatting, such as everything that needs to be on the title page, appropriate levels of headings, proper citations and references, and the other things listed in the assignment instructions. The APA formatting is an important part of the content of this assignment.
As always, be sure to carefully read the instructions for the Synthesis Paper assignment. Be very careful to use proper APA formatting, levels of headings, and so on. For content, you will not be telling your life story; you will be telling the story of what you (the person being studied and written about in this case study) learned in PSYC 255 specifically. This is not a summary of the table of contents of the textbook; you are writing a case study about you and what you learned in the course. The instructions are specific as to what you need to write; stay on topic. Tell me what you learned in this course. Think about what you have learned, reflect, synthesize, and write that synthesized reflection into a case study report about you. Do not simply copy and paste together various previous assignments from our course and combine those to create this document.
Take Time to Reflect
The Synthesis Paper assignment is a big assignment. This assignment is a venue for you to demonstrate that which you have learned in the course, from APA formatting, to conducting a case study, to learning research content, to biblical critique, and so on. It will take a lot of thinking time and writing time to complete this. Begin early!
Some have wondered how to cite and list as a reference the information from your DB posts while writing your Synthesis Paper. You can find some guidance with this in chapter 10 in the manual, in the sections about Textual Works.
Levels of Headings
For the Synthesis Paper, you need to decide what levels of headings you need in order to properly organize your document. The first heading should be a level one heading. But underneath that big topic (whatever the topic is that you’re writing about under your level one heading) you’ll probably need to use additional headings to organize what you’re writing about. Beneath the topic of your level one heading, use a level two heading. If you have sub-topics beneath the topic of that level two heading, then use level three for those sub-topics. So, this assignment becomes an opportunity for you to demonstrate what you have learned throughout the course about APA formatting, including levels of headings and many other features.
Write in Third Person
Some students have wondered about using third person or first person when writing the Synthesis Paper assignment. Typically, a researcher (you) would write in third person, not using first person in most instances in a research report. This Synthesis Paper is a rather unique assignment in that you are the subject of the case study as well as the researcher for the case study. For this assignment, write in third person. Do not use first person in your writing.
Ideas on How To Begin
Maybe this will help. Imagine sitting at your favorite coffee shop with one of your best friends. Your friend asks you, “so what did you really learn in that research course?” The answers that you would give to your friend could be the kinds of things to write about. Then your friend asks you, “how does any of that relate to walking with Jesus, or things in the bible?” Then, you would describe to your friend some of those things. Take notes on what you just told your friend, and those notes might be a good source for some of the content of your assignment.
The difference between the coffee shop with your friend and the written Synthesis Paper assignment is that you will be writing the Synthesis Paper like a case study; you are writing about someone else, even though that “someone else” is actually you. It’s an unusual assignment in that regard. You’ll probably never have another assignment like this one.